Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy Of Failure In War

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Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy Of Failure In War

By Eliot A. Cohen and John Gooch
Random House, 1991
296 pp. $11.00
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This is a delightful-if that is the right word for a book about wartime fiascos-collaboration between a young American military scholar and an eminent British historian. Their cases range across a century, and from Europe to the Middle East to Korea. Generalship matters, as does luck-hence the title's "misfortunes"-but they locate the roots of failure squarely in military organizations and their cultures. Thus the same army can score a stunning victory in one circumstance but suffer a disastrous defeat in the next. There are no sweeping remedies, only watchwords reinforced by rich examples: adapt, anticipate, be flexible.

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